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Sensitivity of resolved and parameterized surface drag to changes in resolution and parameterization

van Niekerk, A., Shepherd, T. G. ORCID:, Vosper, S. B. and Webster, S. (2016) Sensitivity of resolved and parameterized surface drag to changes in resolution and parameterization. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 142 (699). pp. 2300-2313. ISSN 1477-870X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/qj.2821


The relative contribution of resolved and parameterized surface drag towards balancing the atmospheric angular momentum flux convergence (AMFC), and their sensitivity to horizontal resolution and parameterization, are investigated in an atmospheric model. This sensitivity can be difficult to elucidate in free-running climate models, in which the AMFC varies with changing climatologies and, as a result, the relative contributions of surface terms balancing the AMFC also vary. While the sensitivity question has previously been addressed using short-range forecasts, we demonstrate that a nudging framework is an effective method for constraining the AMFC. The Met Office Unified Model is integrated at three horizontal resolutions ranging from 130 km (N96) to 25 km (N512) while relaxing the model’s wind and temperature fields towards the ERAinterim reanalysis within the altitude regions of maximum AMFC. This method is validated against short range forecasts and good agreement is found. These experiments are then used to assess the fidelity of the exchange between parameterized and resolved orographic torques with changes in horizontal resolution. Although the parameterized orographic torque reduces substantially with increasing horizontal resolution, there is little change in resolved orographic torque over 20N to 50N. The tendencies produced by the nudging routine indicate that the additional drag at lower horizontal resolution is excessive. When parameterized orographic blocking is removed at the coarsest of these resolutions, there is a lack of compensation, and even compensation of the opposite sense, by the boundary layer and resolved torques which is particularly pronounced over 20N to 50N. This study demonstrates that there is strong sensitivity in the behaviour of the resolved and parameterized surface drag over this region.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:63753
Publisher:Royal Meteorological Society


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